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Is HPV testing advisable along with PAP smear?

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Posted on Tue, 12 May 2015
Question: Should we request a HPV test while doing a Pap Smear? or do we only ask for that if the PAP smear shows some activity?
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Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham (22 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Better to request both.

Detailed Answer:
Hello
THanks for writing to us with your health concern.
In your case, it is best to have the co - testing done.
That means requesting for HPV testing along with the conventional Pap Smear.
Latest guidelines recommend that women aged 30 years and older get the HPV test at the same time as the Pap test. While the Pap test helps find cell changes on the cervix, the HPV test checks for the HPV virus that can cause these cell changes.

If both tests are negative, the risk for cervical cancer is very low and women can wait five years before another screening. HPV tests also may be used to provide more information when a Pap test has unclear results.

For women age 30 and older, Pap and HPV cotesting is less likely to miss an abnormality (i.e., has a lower false-negative rate) than Pap testing alone. Therefore, a woman with a negative HPV test and normal Pap test has very little risk of a serious abnormality developing over the next several years. In fact, researchers have found that, when Pap and HPV co - testing is used, lengthening the screening interval to 5 years still allows abnormalities to be detected in time to treat them while also reducing the detection of HPV infections that would have gone away on their own.

Adding HPV testing to Pap testing may also improve the detection of glandular cell abnormalities, including adenocarcinoma of the cervix (cancer of the glandular cells of the cervix). Glandular cells are mucus-producing cells found in the endocervical canal (the opening in the center of the cervix) or in the lining of the uterus. Glandular cell abnormalities and adenocarcinoma of the cervix are much less common than squamous cell abnormalities and squamous cell carcinoma. There is some evidence that Pap testing is not as good at detecting adenocarcinoma and glandular cell abnormalities as it is at detecting squamous cell abnormalities and cancers.

Hope this answers your query.
All the best
Please feel free to discuss further.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Aarti Abraham (9 minutes later)
If this is the case, that what happens when the Pap Smear is clear, but the HPV is positive for high-grade typing?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Follow up after a year.

Detailed Answer:
In such a scenario, you need a follow up after one year, with a repeat Pap test and HPV testing.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Aarti Abraham

OBGYN

Practicing since :1998

Answered : 6007 Questions

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Is HPV testing advisable along with PAP smear?

Brief Answer: Better to request both. Detailed Answer: Hello THanks for writing to us with your health concern. In your case, it is best to have the co - testing done. That means requesting for HPV testing along with the conventional Pap Smear. Latest guidelines recommend that women aged 30 years and older get the HPV test at the same time as the Pap test. While the Pap test helps find cell changes on the cervix, the HPV test checks for the HPV virus that can cause these cell changes. If both tests are negative, the risk for cervical cancer is very low and women can wait five years before another screening. HPV tests also may be used to provide more information when a Pap test has unclear results. For women age 30 and older, Pap and HPV cotesting is less likely to miss an abnormality (i.e., has a lower false-negative rate) than Pap testing alone. Therefore, a woman with a negative HPV test and normal Pap test has very little risk of a serious abnormality developing over the next several years. In fact, researchers have found that, when Pap and HPV co - testing is used, lengthening the screening interval to 5 years still allows abnormalities to be detected in time to treat them while also reducing the detection of HPV infections that would have gone away on their own. Adding HPV testing to Pap testing may also improve the detection of glandular cell abnormalities, including adenocarcinoma of the cervix (cancer of the glandular cells of the cervix). Glandular cells are mucus-producing cells found in the endocervical canal (the opening in the center of the cervix) or in the lining of the uterus. Glandular cell abnormalities and adenocarcinoma of the cervix are much less common than squamous cell abnormalities and squamous cell carcinoma. There is some evidence that Pap testing is not as good at detecting adenocarcinoma and glandular cell abnormalities as it is at detecting squamous cell abnormalities and cancers. Hope this answers your query. All the best Please feel free to discuss further.